Bill Zito of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has been named the new general manager of the Florida Panthers according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press on Tuesday. Zito takes over from Dale Tallon of Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, who had been the Panthers general manager since 2010 before parting ways with Florida on August 10.
Zito has worked the last seven seasons in the Columbus Blue Jackets organization. He was initially hired as the Blue Jackets assistant general manager in August of 2013, and then held that role until May of 2019. Over the last year, Zito has been the Blue Jackets Senior Vice-President of Hockey Operations and their Associate General Manager.
Over the last five years, Zito has had a significant role with the Blue Jackets’ American Hockey League franchise, the Cleveland Monsters, where he has been the team’s general manager. In 2015-16, the Lake Erie Monsters (changed their name to Cleveland in 2016) won the Calder Cup as they defeated the Hershey Bears four games to none in a best out of seven series.
It will now be very interesting to see what the Panthers will now do when it comes to their head coach. Joel Quenneville of Windsor, Ontario is one of the most brilliant hockey minds. He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion during his time with the Chicago Blackhawks, and helped the Panthers reach the qualifying round in 2019-20 before losing to the New York Islanders in four games in their best out of five series. However, he could be significantly linked to Tallon, due to their Chicago connection. Zito may want to bring in his own guy.
In the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche forced a seventh and deciding game at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Friday. The Avalanche defeated the Dallas Stats 4-1 in game six of the Western Conference semi-final series, and are now tied at three games apiece in their best out of seven series.